Primary sources/Evolution/EoM Evolution

Table of Contents The position of the Church on the origin of man was published by the First Presidency in 1909 and stated again by a different First Presidency in 1925:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, declares man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity…. Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes (see Appendix, "Doctrinal Expositions of the First Presidency").

The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded,

Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church…. Upon one thing we should all be able to agree, namely, that Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund were right when they said: "Adam is the primal parent of our race" [First Presidency Minutes, Apr. 7, 1931].

William E. Evenson, "Evolution," Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992).

[This article was "ghost-written" by President Gordon B. Hinckley, as the material below demonstrates:]

"Because of a fairly broad science background as a physics professor with research interests in evolutionary biology, I was asked to write the article on evolution for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. This article went through a long process of refinement and review. It was originally to be 1,000 words long, then was revised to 2,500 words, to 3,000 words, and to 4,500 words. Finally, in the spring of 1991, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve reviewed my last two versions, and a more antievolutionary revision of my article by someone else connected with the Encyclopedia. The Brethren decided that they wanted only a short article referring to the First Presidency statements on this subject, which are the only definitive source of Church doctrine. The resulting entry in the Encyclopedia is only 258 words long...."

  • William E. Evenson is professor of physics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. This essay is adapted from a sacrament meeting talk he delivered at the Pasadena Second Ward on 10 April 1994."

This is from the chapter entitled "LDS Doctrine and the Theory of Evolution" in the book Can Science Be Faith-Promoting? by Dr. Sterling B. Talmage, Blue Ribbon Books, Salt Lake City, 2001.